When CBS Sports' Mike Axisa ranked this year's Opening Day pitching matchups, he reserved the 15th and final spot on the list for the faceoff between Kyle Gibson (Texas Rangers) and Brad Keller (Kansas City Royals). However low Axisa may have been on the pairing, even he likely didn't foresee the two pitchers combining to make ominous history on Thursday. Yet ominous history they indeed combine to make.
Gibson and Keller recorded just five outs total, but not before they allowed 11 runs on 13 hits and five walks. According to Jeremy Frank, or MLB Random Stats on Twitter, this was the first Opening Day since (at least) 1901 in which both starting pitchers failed to record as many as five outs.
Gibson was responsible for retiring just one batter on the afternoon, giving him the shortest Opening Day assignment since Mark Bomback recorded one out against the Milwaukee Brewers in 1982, according to Baseball Reference. (Bomback allowed six runs on six hits in what proved to be the beginning of his final big-league season.) The shortest Opening Day outing since World War II still belongs to Carl Scheib of the Philadelphia Athletics, who faced four batters and recorded zero outs against the 1950 Washington Senators.
This marked Keller's second career Opening Day start after he also received the nod to kick off the 2019 season. Gibson, meanwhile, was making his first career Opening Day starter. He received the honor almost by default, as Texas traded Lance Lynn to the Chicago White Sox over the winter, leaving them without an obvious alternative. It's fair to say that Gibson seems unlikely to get another Opening Day nod.